Follow your dream or follow your calling?

Øyvind Johnsen

We often see advertisements: Follow your dream! Make your dream a reality! Dare to follow your dream! The assumption is that fulfilling our dreams is synonymous with attaining happiness in life. We will see that there is good reason to question this assumption.

We have many dreams, especially when we are young. These dreams usually revolve around a career or success in a sport, profession, art, or being a performer. However, whether we attain any of our dreams is dependent on many factors and circumstances which are often beyond our control. For example, finances, talents, our surroundings, lucky breaks, and other circumstances affect whether we can realize our dream. Whether it is possible to fulfill your own dream is very uncertain. It is in fact safe to say that being able to fulfill our dreams is highly unlikely. This is simply due to the fact that other people and/or circumstances  often determine what happens.

Just as there are conditions for attaining a career calling or goal, there are also conditions for fulfilling our heavenly calling.

This is not the case with the heavenly calling. This calling asks whether we want to follow Jesus, be His disciple, follow in His footsteps, and be conformed to His image. (1 Peter 2:21) It is wriiten in Hebrews 3:1, “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling…” This is the greatest calling a person can receive here on earth. Yet, just as there are conditions for attaining a career calling or goal, there are also conditions for fulfilling our heavenly calling. Jesus says in Luke 14:33, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” In other words, without giving up everything in this world we cannot be His disciple, but if we do – we can. We are the ones in the driver seat, because we ourselves can choose to pay the price, and fulfill the conditions. The power and the grace to carry it out are fully available from Him who calls.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. In other words, we are created for a significant purpose. By finding and walking in the works God has prepared for us, we will fulfill our heavenly calling; thus, our lives can become a great blessing and benefit to our fellow man and bring us happiness.

It is through our senses and our imagination, that our arch enemy gains entrance. People are deceived by their lusts, just as Eve was. It is often through the “dream of the good life” that the power of the deception gains entrance into the human mind. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:10)  Because corruption results from following our deceitful lusts, many people look back on a life littered with shock, disappointment, and regret. Their dream was a bubble that burst. Their energy, time, and resources were sacrificed on the altar of futility.

We are created for a significant purpose.

Paul was gripped of his heavenly calling. It was not empty dreams driving his life, but a sincere longing to be a disciple and serve God with his all. “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20. His longing and hope was anchored in something that was fully attainable, and he was willing to pay the price.

While it is quite uncertain whether we can reach our dreams, and thereby quite likely that we will be disappointed if we allow everything  to hinge on attaining them, it is 100% certain that we can realize our heavenly calling, when we are willing to pay the price. By choosing this path, no one has ever been disappointed. The choice is ours!

This post is also available in: Norwegian Bokmål

You might also be interested in our theme page about Overcoming sin.

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